The Importance of Curriculum Consultants

j0430727.jpg Today I spent the day working with our social studies consultant on various projects. Among other things, we discussed my plans for an upcoming ASK connecting to a Canadian author for 6th grade students studying Canada. The Michigan social studies curriculum is currently under revision, and there is potential that the placement of Canada studies may change. If it does, that will affect the ASK programs I’m working on as well as our MysteryQuest World programs.

In addition, I have an idea for science classes studying the environment, but I want to make sure it’s tightly tied to the curriculum. So in August I’ll be meeting with our science consultant to make sure the project we design is addressing the curriculum in appropriate ways.

I also am in the process of planning time with our language arts consultant to expand the literature circles project that two of my schools did this year.

So my point is, those of us planning and creating content for our schools can not “just dream up something” because it sounds fun. With the pressures of NCLB, state testing, and crammed curriculum, it’s crucial that we do reality checks to make sure the projects we’re designing and supporting fit tightly into the curriculum. Then videoconferencing will support the curriculum instead of being yet another add-on to frustrate teachers with unrealistic expectations.

How do you make sure your videoconferences tightly fit the curriculum?

0 replies on “The Importance of Curriculum Consultants”

  1. Another part of the “just dream up something because it sounds fun” method is also the “we have always done it this way” strategy. I know for me, once I get my procedures and documents so that the project runs smoothly, I am not always open to a critical evaluation of whether or not this project adds value to the curriculum and helps student meet the expected learning goals.

    My question is how to you get the content specialists to meet and plan with you. Should I try to get the specialists to view some of the projects? Make a presentation to the dept? We have some very strong personal belief barriers…any ideas about how to show the power of videoconferencing and collaborative technologies to people who believe that a student-created power point presentation with animated clip art is high level technology integration?

  2. Arnie Comer says:

    The issues Roxanne raises are valid ones. Curriculum Consulatants can be hard nuts to crack sometimes. I have found some success with working with the ones who want to work with me. And I let them know that once they review the material they are not responsible for “running the program” in any way. That way they are not looking at it as one more thing on their plate. Rather, we are just asking for their subject matter expertise in making sure that what we want to do meets the curriculum.

    Then, once the events are scheduled, I invite them to attend to see the results of their effiorts. Sometimes they just come in for a little while, other times they are there for the whole session. They almost always walk away impressed with what they see. And then they are more willing to work with you on the next project.

  3. Nancy Shives says:

    This is a great topic. I’ve been looking into this and I have question regarding payment of the curriculum consultants. Do you pay them? If so how much. I’m planning on working with a teacher over the summer and I’m not sure what a fair rate is for her time.
    Any suggestions?

  4. Janine Lim says:

    Hi Nancy,

    I checked out your blog – your museum sounds really cool and so do your current programs. I think they will make a really great addition to the videoconference world!

    As for the curriculum consultants – the ones I work with are employees of the Berrien County ISD (educational service agency) just like I am.

    But as a content provider, you definitely want to partner with teachers in local schools. I would recommend finding out what the sub rate is in your area and pay teachers that amount. Asking your local school districts to partner with you is a great way to make sure your programs target the state curriculum well.

    Hope this helps…

    Janine

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